The 51st annual Arkansas Marathon will kick off a full day of activity in downtown Booneville Saturday morning.
Starting and ending on Broadway in front of the Arkansas Department of Revenue, runners of the marathon, half-marathon, 10K, and 5K will make their way south along Highway 23 to turn around points, retracing the same route on the way to the finish line.
Marathon runners can again qualify for the Boston Marathon through the longest consecutively held marathon in Arkansas, which Booneville has now hosted 27 times.
Booneville was the host from 1978-1995 and resumed its role as host in 2010.
When runners of the shortest race return many of the vendor for the annual October Daze celebration will be in preparation stages and by the time the 10K and other runners make their way back, the downtown should be abuzz with activity.
October Daze, which will be ongoing through 5 p.m. has a lot of traditional favorites in its 2019 event lineup, as well as some new events.
Among the later is a pet costume contest which will be held from noon to 1 p.m.
Not new, but the harvest pageants have been moved to earlier in the day — check in is at 8:30 the the pageant to begin at 9 a.m. — to accommodate volunteers who are working marathon aid stations later in the day, according to Susan Bulger, the executive director of the Booneville Development Corporation/South Logan County Chamber of Commerce, the event sponsor for both October Daze and the Arkansas Marathon.
The Kids Zone at the festival will open at 8 a.m. and will include pumpkin painting — Walmart donated 75 little pumpkins for painting, which kids will be permitted to keep, Bulger said.
The National Wild Turkey Federation and Arkansas Game & Fish will have BB gun shooting and bait casting exhibits for children as well, Bulger said.
Other exhibits in the kids zone will include bounce houses, face painting, and Booneville Police Department/School Resource Officer Norman Wilder will also be preparing child identification kits for parents who wish.
For the bigger kids, a car, truck, motorcycle and tractor show will be held form 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with winners announced at 1:15.
Traditional pumpkin and scarecrow contest voting will be held from noon to 2:30.
Performances during the day will include by Static Fuzion students at 1:30, followed by Ryan Dart, a former Booneville resident who is supporting his third solo album, from 2 to 4 p.m.
The event will close with chicken drop bingo, announcing the scarecrow and pumpkin contest winners and a hula hoop contest at 4:30.